26/11: Ugly scene in LS; LK, Pranab spar
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Last Updated: Thursday, November 26, 2009, 18:22
New Delhi, Nov 26: Even as the country united to pay homage to the victims of the Mumbai terror attack on its first anniversary, the Leader of the Opposition L K Advani and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday sparred over relief to the affected persons.

The ugly scene was witnessed during Zero Hour when Advani voiced concern over "slow pace" of relief to the victims evoking an angry response from Mukherjee who accused the BJP of exploiting the 26/11 incident for political gains.

"You are making politics out of this. Earlier also you did it and were paid back. ... You will be again paid back in your own coin," Mukherjee said.

The outburst by the Leader of the House followed BJP leader Anant Kumar's insistence that he respond to Advani's concerns over the state of relief and rehabilitation of the victims of 26/11 and the blasts in suburban trains.

Amid cries of 'shame, shame' from some members, Advani said out of 403 persons eligible for relief, only 118 have received cheques so far and while 64 of them were eligible for railway jobs, only 32 had received offers till now.

Advani also suggested that a special cell be created in the Home Ministry, with an officer on special duty as its head, to look into the "problems of coordination" between 12 different agencies, including eight of the state government, involved in handling relief.

An agitated Pranab said he had rushed to the house to listen to the leader of the opposition.

"I have come only to listen to him (Advani). Not to hear from you (Ananth Kumar)," Pranab said, adding every zero hour reference could not be answered. "Don't make it a practice," he said. This remark led to heated exchange of words between Mukherjee and BJP MPs led by Ananth Kumar.

Speaker Meira Kumar brought order in the House when she reminded members today was a solemn occasion.

Oppn decries Govt on compensation

Cutting across party lines, BJP, SP, CPI(M) and RLD on Thursday decried the government for still not paying adequate compensation to 26/11 victims.

Even after 365 days all the 26/11 victims have not got compensation yet, BJP leader Prakash Javadekar told reporters outside Parliament.

"There were a total of 403 victims, including 164 killed, in Mumbai terror attack last year. But only 118 families have got the compensation. In many cases the Rs 3 lakh cheque given by the Home Ministry have bounced," Javadekar said.

Accusing the Rail Ministry for failing to fulfil job promises, he said though 52 were killed at Mumbai Railway station, only 20 have got jobs till date."

"Even the promise by Petroleum Ministry is also not fulfilled. Now they are saying they will provide Rs 25,000 only to victim families instead of petrol pumps promised earlier," he said.

RLD MP Jayant Chaudhury said there was a lacunae on the part of the government to pay adequate compensation to victim families.

However, apart from compensation, he questioned the preparedness to tackle such a terror attack in the future.

"It seems to me insufficient. What are the steps we have taken to prevent black money being used by terror network?" he asked.


First Published: Thursday, November 26, 2009, 18:22

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